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COVID-19 Political Compliance Considerations for Companies and Nonprofits


Speaker(s): Elli Abdoli, Jason D. Kaune
Recorded on: May. 21, 2020
PLI Program #: 300549

Jason Kaune leads Nielsen Merksamer’s political law section and has served as faculty for the Corporate Political Activities conference since 2003. He specializes in government ethics, election, lobbying disclosure, conflict of interest, gift and gratuity, and campaign finance laws of federal, state and local governments.

Mr. Kaune advises corporations, advocacy groups, individuals, non-profit organizations and governments on the increasingly complex regulation of the political intersection of the public and private sectors in the United States. For nearly twenty years, he has pioneered the firm’s national compliance practice, building client-oriented resources and systems with his political law colleagues that have served as benchmarks in the regulated community. His clients include the nation’s largest technology, pharmaceutical, energy, telecommunications, media, publishing, investment and consumer product companies.

He is one of the leading political attorneys in California, advising individuals, entities and government agencies on election law and conflict of interest matters. He serves as counsel and treasurer for political action committees, advocacy groups, social welfare organizations, independent expenditure committees and ballot measures on topics ranging from land use restrictions to government reform.

Mr. Kaune represents and advises clients in regard to their dealings with state and local government ethics agencies across the country, with local counsel as necessary. His expertise includes “pay to play” restrictions on government contractors and the financial industry, the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), California’s Political Reform Act (PRA), and similar laws at every level of government.

He’s currently an appointed member of the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Election Law.  He is a past president of the California Political Attorneys Association and member of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) and other professional associations. He also serves as an elected trustee of the Orinda Unified School District, a public school district in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining Nielsen Merksamer, Mr. Kaune worked in the private and non-profit sectors, on a presidential campaign, and for a U.S. Federal District Court Judge.  He is an honors graduate of Yale College and the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law and earned a master in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


Elli Abdoli is a partner with the firm’s political law section. She advises Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, trade associations and other organizations on complying with federal, state and local lobby, campaign finance and ethics laws, including developing and implementing comprehensive nationwide compliance systems.

Ms. Abdoli specializes in “pay-to-play” laws, including SEC Rule 206(4)-5, MSRB Rule G-37, and state and local laws impacting the political activity of current and prospective government contractors. She has developed compliance processes and policies to assist companies in complying with these complex laws and regulations, including a mobile application to assist executives and employees with their reporting obligations.

Ms. Abdoli also advises corporations, nonprofit organizations, committees, and individuals on federal, state and local campaign finance and election law issues, including the initiative and referendum process. She is counsel and treasurer for a number of political action committees and ballot measure committees.

In 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, Ms. Abdoli was selected for inclusion in Northern California Super Lawyers – Rising Stars, which recognizes no more than the top 2.5 percent of lawyers. The Rising Star category recognizes attorneys who are age 40 or less, or in the practice of law 10 years or less.